For the northern hemisphere winter we arranged to once again head to the north of Italy. By coincidence, and a bit of arm wringing, we’d managed to arrange to ski consecutive weeks with two separate groups of friends, in two separate towns, in the Dolomites north of Venice. During our first week we stayed in Campitello, care of Dolomites Ski Tours, and were guided by friends of ours. On the middle Saturday afternoon we skied over to the town of Corvara, about 20km away, and caught up with more friends, joining them for the second half of their own two week trip. Dolomites Ski Tours arranged for our bags to be dropped off at our Hotel in Corvara, so all we had to do was ski around the Sella Massif and schuss into town. Our bags were waiting for us in our room. That’s a great start to a ski week.
Before we arrived in the Alps we first had a night in Venice to recuperate from about 26 hours of travelling.
From Venice we were picked up for the drive into the Alps. Here we’re on our way up through the foothills.
Day one and we made a colourful start to the day. The village of Campitello requires a cable car uplift each morning – the Col Rodella – along with a corresponding download each evening.
Each morning we cranked on our boots and started making turns from this very point, looking out at the Sassolungo (‘Langkofel’ in German).
For our first morning we stayed local, skiing the Belvedere region above the villages of Campitello and Canazei – the Val di Fassa. The food is going to be a recurring theme in this report. I had the best spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino (spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli) I’ve ever had in my life for lunch on day one. A marvellous start to the week. The top of the Col Rodella is the shed across the valley at top left in the following shot – to the left of the avalanche fences.
The village of Campitello (almost) catches the sunlight.
Here we’re approaching the Passo Pordoi - the mountain pass separating the Arabba region from the Belvedere / Val di Fassa side.
We made the trip up the Pordoi cable car to the top of the Sella Massif. Here we’re looking back towards the Sassolungo above Campitello.
And here’s one looking back down into the valley from beside the top station with Passo Pordoi on the right. The avalanche fences at centre right of shot are the ones shown in the shot above ... we’re just looking down on them from on high.
Inside the rifugio there’s a small memorium for Shane McConkey. Sadly this was the locale for his final turns.
Here we’re booting up for the run home with some of the team looking up to check out the top of the Sella. In the sun across the valley, above and a bit to the left of the avalanche fencing, is the top station for the Col Rodella. That’s our destination for the afternoon download to Campitello.
On the first Wednesday we headed for the Marmolada Glacier. It was cold that morning - minus twelve Celsius in the village, and about minus twenty up on the hill (or about zero farenheit). The glacier runs underneath the rocky ridge on the skyline. You can see the intermediate and top stations in this shot.
Looking back down into the valley from the intermediate station ...
... and looking down the cable car line from the top station.
Here’s the crew at the top. It’s somewhere around 3,300 metres, or about 11,000 feet.
But, as you can see to the right of shot, the weather was closing in fast, so we rallied out of there.
And down we went.
From part way down we could see a wave of people following us, all trying to get out before the weather filled in.
Here’s the bottom cable car station.
Past the cable car station is a natural gorge leading you to the village of Sottoguda. There are frozen waterfalls on all sides, and it seems to be a bit of a Mecca for ice climbers.
So you take a few shots and head out of the gorge and into Sottoguda for lunch. In this case it was pumpkin gnocchi (the house is famous for it) and a carafe of house red, all followed by a complimentary schnapps served in a little chocolate cup. Yum!
The next day brought a crisp, clear morning in Campitello, with a beautiful side view of the Sassolungo. We were heading to Restaurant Val dÁnna for lunch this day ... it's all about lunch after all.
Up we go.
Then we hopped on a tube train. The area is certainly not short of investment in infrastructure.
And, after another couple of chairs, we emerge on top of the world. You don’t want to look over the edge as it’s about a thousand feet down (hence that very secure looking fence). The peaks on the horizon are in Austria.
After a ten kilometre run down into the next valley we found restaurant Val dÁnna in time for lunch. I chose the Pasta Carbonara from memory (and a good one too) plus a sufficiently large container of the house red, which was also very good.
The run down from Seceda.
Back in Campitello and the Mayor had parked his ride in the centre of town ... a two horsepower beauty.
The next day got up windy and there was some snow about, so we stayed in the trees.
The wind rose steadily all day, which is uncommon for the area. It left people in danger of being stranded in the wrong valley should the lifts stop running.
And then the snow started to come on properly.
Here is the day’s tally in the village.
Saturday is changeover day and the guides get the day off. It also happened to be a powder day, so we headed for the Ciampac / Buffaure area to get some powder turns in for Dave’s birthday. Here’s a morning shot of the powder bowl at Buffaure. Gorgeous!
Here the boys are traversing out, looking for their line.
Stage one completed.
Looking back up the bowl from the chair on one of many laps.
A few slides were going off so a bit of care was in order.
Just a beautiful place on a beautiful day.
But ... there goes the neighbourhood.
This is looking back up the bowl at Ciampac. One of our guys had to moonwalk backwards out of the path of the slide on the left as it went past his ski tips (and over the ski track of the guy before him).
But, after a great day, by mid-afternoon it was time to say our goodbyes and ski over to join another group of friends in the next town.
To be continued ...
Edited by sinbad7 - 4/13/15 at 4:39am